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If you happen to cruise Mesa's main drag downtown, you may notice a local art scene that is kicking up and gaining a foothold with the recent opening of Windup Gallery. Owners Lindsay and Anthony Cresta have already showcased a knack for tapping into the local arts scene with their Summer "Homegrown AZ Artist Show" all the coolest graffiti artists in town coughed up some kickass works. Not only was the art punchy and colorful, but the opening night was bumpin' with scenesters from all over the Valley. Windup has gotta be doing something right if we're willing to haul our cookies to Mesa on a Saturday night.
The building now sports an oddball burnt orange and aqua paint scheme, which makes it stand out from neighbor MADE art boutique and The Lost Leaf like some funkdafied beacon. Moncrief's infamous front-lawn sculpture garden, which the photographer created from automotive and aircraft parts, has now become a bizarre open-air lounge where you can kick back in 1950s-era hair dryers.
Pacheco, a graphic designer with a flair for vintage automotive style, built a treehouse-style DJ booth in the front yard so as to rain down ambient techno beats upon visitors and other passersby. There's also an ample stage in the backyard where live bands perform. The fun isn't just limited to the monthly art walk, however, as the pair host music and performance art events throughout the rest of the month as well. Other RoRo music venues, watch your backs.
Time to hop off that stretch and hit .anti_space, a happening conglomerate of galleries, studios, and shops on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and McKinley. The place is easy to spot with its colorfully lit palm trees and a healthy heap of people milling along the sidewalk. Grassy areas have benches and lawn chairs where you can sit while adventurous types give the installed tightrope a try.
Boutiques C.O.L.A.B. and Mint always have cute indie chicks hunting for vintage goodies. Galleries Pravus, Mothball, Waldoism, Red Spade and B-Side are usually open for just the right amount of mixing to get our social jollies off, but not so packed that we smell each other's breath.
With eight different studios and galleries, Garfield Galleria offers just as much artistic action as its cousins, all contained within a single structure. Downstairs, the twin photo collectives of Gallery 8 and CHAOS serve up plenty of superior snapshots, while the Lords of Art Town provide work across several mediums including photography and installation work and Julio Romano's Statement Driven is home to his emotionally charged photos and paintings.
Upstairs, you'll find the dual spaces of abstract minimalist landscape artist Jerry Van Wyngarden and his wife, illustrator Carole Hanks.
Don't starve for their art. Refreshment can be found nearby at the Willow House, Zoës Kitchen, and My Florist. What's not to love?
The Gypsy Village, subtitled "Artist Loft: Low Rise, Low Rent," was the bizarre brainchild of agitprop artists C.R. Vavrek and Pete Petrisko, a satirical stab at how the ongoing gentrification is displacing hardscrabble artists like themselves in favor of lofts and multimillion-dollar developments.
Consisting of four hovels, the hipster Hooverville boasted an art gallery, tarot reader, fire pit, sleeping quarters for Vavrek, and a boombox disco blasting music for those who came after dark. In addition to entertaining the hundreds who stopped by, the event reportedly raised the ire of one property owner who threatened to call in the cops and clear the lot. Vavrek and Petrisko managed to defuse the situation, and the derelict domiciles were allowed to remain. It's a good thing, too, since where else could you find grubby artists talking in faux Eastern European accents, à la Borat? Very nice!